4RinEU cost-effective energy audit: first steps

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One of the goals of 4RinEU project is to develop a cost-effective energy audit protocol to support the deep renovation process of residential buildings. In fact, in the residential sector, building owners usually prefer to invest higher resources on new technical systems and components rather than on energy audits and renovation design.

The renovation decision-making process is mainly driven by other factors than energy audit: the subsidies established for a particular technology, the minimum performance requirements to be achieved and the technology commercial advertisement with low detailed information.
The cost effectiveness of the solutions is usually founded on very basic models and generic considerations that often bring to very uncertain savings. Indeed, deep renovation projects and high saving targets need accurate audits. The cost effectiveness of these activities can be demonstrated only if the results consider the level of accuracy, if the contracts will include a set of metrics calculated from third party service to guarantee the achievements of goals and if M&V activities are planned into commissioning phase.

Private investors can develop new business models that include the renovation of residential buildings only if the achieved saving are predictable and controlled along the live fine of the investment. Therefore, the energy audit and M&V service should be seen as driver and within 4RinEU we will demonstrate the reliability and cost-effectiveness of these steps in the renovation process.

The first stage was the analysis of building owners’ objectives in case of deep renovation projects. In particular: owners’ level of knowledge about the building in terms of existing problems, running and maintenance cost, usual building management, internal organization and documentation management, their setup and management ability of renovation process and their experience of performing/contracting an energy audit. This analysis was performed in all the 3 Demo-Cases which represent a wide range of different building owners typology, with different business model.

We believe that starting with a good setup of the process will result in a better and easy manageable project. The importance of an energy audit should be stressed at the beginning of the process, in the organization phase.

To validate the accuracy of the energy audit methodology that will be developed within 4RinEU, it is necessary to have a detailed base of measured data of building behaviour before and after the renovation. For this purpose Aderma, the responsible of this action, designed a monitoring system that enable the characterization of the hourly energy profiles of the Demo building as well as the occupants behaviour. The system is already installed in the Spanish Demo-Case and during the next months, it will be installed also in the other two Demo-Cases (in the Netherlands and in Norway). During the measurements, a first inspection of the building was carried out using IR Thermography, Blower door test and analyzing the HVAC systems installed.

By the end of the first year of the project, a first version of the energy audit carried out for the 3 Demo-Cases will be ready, and all the information recorded will form the base for starting the development of the 4RinEU cost-effective methodology for the energy audit.

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